The students who accused a Jawaharlal Nehru University professor of sexual harassment said on Wednesday that they were “appalled” by the way he got bail in eight cases “within few minutes”. They refuted the professor’s defence – that he was being targeted because of his stand on the compulsory attendance row – as an “excuse” to give the episode a “political colour”.
The professor’s lawyer had also claimed that he was a victim of political conspiracy. However, the students said six of the eight complainants were members of the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party, which the professor, Atul Johri, supports.
The students also urged the university to suspend Johri and keep him out of the premises.
In a statement, the students said there was no relation between the compulsory attendance row and the sexual harassment allegations. They also pointed out that the administration of the university had not taken any action against Johri yet. “Who is the police and administration trying to protect?” they asked.
“If we didn’t speak up now, the situation will not change and other female students who are going to pursue their research under Atul Johri’s supervision would have to go through similar experiences,” the students said.
On Tuesday, the Patiala House Court in Delhi granted bail to Johri, hours after the police arrested him on charges of sexual harassment. Students of the university had clashed with the police in front of the Vasant Kunj Police Station on Monday.
The police filed eight separate cases of sexual harassment against Johri, as demanded by 54 professors of the university in a petition to Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-West) Milind Dumbere on Monday.
Johri’s lawyer RK Wadhva claimed that the professor was a victim of a political conspiracy. “He had reprimanded them [the complainants] for their attendance and had asked them to attend classes,” Wadhva claimed. “The students conspired to complain against him.”
Johri resigned from his administrative role on March 16 after the Delhi Police registered a sexual harassment case against him.